Qatar Airways set to launch new China route

Gulf carrier says it will start thrice-weekly services to Chengdu from March 19 next year

(AFP/Getty Images)

(AFP/Getty Images)

Qatar Airways on Tuesday announced plans to launch scheduled flights to Chengdu next year, its sixth gateway in China.

The Doha-based airline will operate three-flights-a-week to the capital of Sichuan Province in Southwest China on March 19, taking its total weekly frequency across the country to 41 non-stop services spread across six cities.

Qatar Airways currently operating 38 flights each week from its Doha hub to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Hong Kong.

Today’s news is Qatar Airways’ sixth route announcement so far for 2013. Flights to Gassim in Saudi Arabia, Najaf in Iraq, Oman’s tourist spot of Salalah, Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh and Chicago are being launched between January and May with further start-ups planned during the year.

With a catchment population of 28 million people, Chengdu is one of the most important economic, transportation and communication hubs in western China and deemed among the top 10 cities for investment out of 280 across the country.

The city has a strong industrial base, including heavy manufacturing, aluminum smelting and chemicals. Textiles are an important industry with cotton, wool milling and traditional manufacturing of silk and satin among the key business sectors.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “Chengdu is another key city in a vibrant economy looking for more air capacity and we are delighted to announce our operations there from March next year.

“We are confident of buoyant business on the route, appealing to vital traffic flows linking South America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East to an important gateway in China – in fact our sixth gateway of Chengdu.

“China is a market that is growing in stature and Qatar Airways will continue to tap into opportunities to expand our presence and provide more choice for our passengers travelling on business or leisure to or from China.”

Qatar Airways will operate an Airbus A330 on the Doha – Chengdu route, he added.

Since the beginning of 2012, Qatar Airways has launched flights to 11 new destinations – Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Yangon (Myanmar), Maputo (Mozambique) and Belgrade (Serbia).

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